Drum kit of the year
Mapex’s Black Panther snare range has been a massive success story ever since launching well over a decade ago. It’s unsurprising then that this year the company decided to expand the line to include four full Black Panther kits.
With this eventual quartet to choose from, which one will prove most popular remains to be seen, but this Velvetone kit impressed us greatly and is sure to be a hit.
4 out of 5
FULL REVIEW: Mapex Black Panther Velvetone kit
There were several other kits that impressed us in 2011. Firstly, Yamaha unleashed something new on us with the Club Custom kit, which had a warm but punchy sound - and our review kit’s Orange Swirl finish looked the business too! Premier revamped its ‘90s favourite the Genista range, and we were big fans of the new Genista Birch kit. Finally, percussion company Natal, now owned by Marshall, made its first move into the world of kit building. We found the Natal Bubinga kit in particular to be a more-than-assured debut at a competitive price.
Budget drum kit of the year (under £1000)
Our favourite sub-£1000 set of the year comes from Brazilian company Odery. The Fluence Fusion kit was the first Odery we’d ever reviewed and we found it to be one of the best value kits we’ve ever tried. It looks fantastic, sounds great and comes with top-notch hardware; all for less than £600. What’s not to like about that?
FULL REVIEW: Odery Fluence Fusion Series kit
Electronic drum kit of the year
This time last year, Roland’s V-Drum range walked away with the titles of best electronic kit (TD-20KX) and best budget electronic kit (TD-4KX). This year the TD-9K2 was our favourite electronic kit - an important upgrade to the V-Drum range, keeping the kit at the top of its game with new mesh heads, improved hardware and refreshed sounds.
4 out of 5
FULL REVIEW: Electronic drum kit of the year
Budget electronic drum kit of the year (under £1000)
This year’s top budget kit sits very much at the budget end of the scale, coming in at a mere £400. But, as our reviewer Dave Holmes found, the DD516-Pro is packed with playability and just wills you to have fun; which is exactly what you want from a budget kit like this.
4 out of 5
FULL REVIEW: WHD DD516-Pro Electronic Drum kit
Cymbals of the year
Turkish cymbal company Impression is a real newcomer, having only been founded in the latter half of 2010. Yet the manufacturer seems to have emerged with a fully formed catalogue of cymbals - it already offers 10 different ranges - all made by hand in Turkey. We only tested this sample selection of Impression’s Rock and Jazz Series recently, but we were very impressed.
4 out of 5
FULL REVIEW: Impression Rock & Jazz Series Cymbals
Snare of the year
This year’s top snare comes from independent Sussex-based drum-maker Matt Morgan Davies. We tested two of his finely crafted snares earlier this year and found them to be two of the finest drums imaginable, this Gold Glitter snare in particular just blew us away.
FULL REVIEW: Morgan Davies Gold Glitter snare
Acoustic percussion of the year
Paolo De Gregorio is a hugely respected name in the world of Cajon making, and this latest addition to his range is nothing short of beautiful. Not only is the Maestral cajon exceptionally well built, but it sounds spot-on too.
FULL REVIEW: De Gregorio Maestral Cajon
Electronic percussion of the year
Last year Korg picked up our nod for electronic percussion of the year for the excellent Wavedrum. Well, in 2011 the company has done it again, this time with the Wavedrum’s more esoteric sibling - the Wavedrum Oriental.
FULL REVIEW: Korg Wavedrum Oriental
Drum microphones of the year
They’re not exactly cheap, but if you’re looking for a serious piece of kit for miking up your drums, you can’t really go wrong with the Blue Microphones Drum Kit Kit. The performance of these mics entirely justifies the price.
FULL REVIEW: Blue Microphones Drum Kit Kit
Drum accessory of the year
Puresound's innovations with the Custom Pro range have made the drummer's life incrementally easier. These snare wires make head and wire changes quick and easy, while reducing buzz and improving dynamic range.